Florida’s iconic palm trees threatened by invasive disease

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s iconic palm trees are under attack from a fatal disease that turns them to dried crisps within months with no chance for recovery once they become ill.

Lethal bronzing is caused by a bacteria spread by a rice-sized insect. It has gone from a small infestation on Florida’s Gulf Coast to a statewide problem in a decade.

University of Florida assistant professor Brian Bahder says thousands of palm trees have died and the pace of infection is increasing.

It’s adding to an arboreal nightmare in a state that is already fighting two diseases that have devastated its citrus trees.

Florida palm nurseries are taking a financial hit as they scrap infected trees.

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